I learned that my colleague Peggy Oxley passed away recently and I wanted to take a moment to honor her memory.
Peggy was a long-time classroom teacher and a lover of literature and poetry for young people. She and I served as co-chairs of the NCTE Poetry Award committee that chose Nikki Grimes as the recipient back in 2006. Peggy was such a wonderful collaborator--the kindest, gentlest soul. She taught second grade at St. Paul Catholic School in Westerville, Ohio for her entire 43-year teaching career, not retiring until age 86. Isn't that incredible? And she is everyone's dream of the perfect second grade teacher-- endlessly patient and positive. She brought authors, illustrators, and poets into her classroom long before that was a cool trend and helped parents and colleagues see the value in providing children with this special experience.
Peggy also invested in ongoing professional development, founding The Literacy Connection (and serving as its longtime President), a well-regarded teacher support group and was an active presenter at conferences and author of scholarly publications like Reading and Writing, Where It All Begins: Helping your Children at Home (1991), receiving many awards throughout her career.
Franki Sibberson, literacy leader and a fellow Ohioan like Peggy, wrote a lovely tribute at the blog she maintains with Mary Lee Hahn, A Year of Reading.
Janet Wong served on the NCTE Poetry Award committee along with Peggy and me and was kind enough to write a new poem honoring our friend, Peggy. I think it perfectly captures Peggy's love for nature, children, and poetry.